Heading to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars is not an easy task for the Houston Texans. The Texans are without multiple starters on their offense and the Jaguars defense continues to be one of the leagues best. If the Texans want to have a chance to win on Sunday, they must protect quarterback T.J. Yates.
During the matchup in Week 1, Jacksonville was able to sack quarterbacks Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson 10 times. The outstanding performance from Jacksonville even led to the nickname “Sacksonville”. The Jaguars registered 15 quarterback hits on the day as the Texans were unable to stop their pass rush. Part of the issue was the absence of Duane Brown. Without Brown Houston was unable to protect whoever lined up under center.
Later in the season when Watson was named the starter, Houston was able to scheme around the absence of Brown due to his mobility. As a result of Watson’s performance, trading Brown was not detrimental. After the injury to Watson the effect of Brown’s absence was felt again. Without having a quarterback like Watson the offense was not as effective.
Facing the Jaguars again without an elusive quarterback will prove problematic for the Texans. This is noteworthy since Jacksonville got better defensively with the acquisition of Marcell Dareus. Dareus has bolstered the Jaguars run defense forcing teams to try and attack the leagues best pass defense. Entering Week 15, Jacksonville has allowed the fewest passing yards per game (174.2) and has registered the most quarterback sacks (47).
The Texans will have a tough time protecting Yates this week. As a result there is a chance Jacksonville gets to Yates early and often. It will be up to head coach Bill O’Brien to design a scheme to protect Yates. However that might not be enough to keep Yates upright on Sunday. The Jaguars defense is tenacious and is able to get to any quarterback with ease. This will not be an exception this coming Sunday.
In addition to keeping Yates upright they will have to create a game plan that puts the Texans in the best situation to win. That includes finding a balance between running the ball effectively against a tough run defense and passing the ball in right situations. While finding rhythm offensively will difficult it will pertinent for the Texans to avoid predictable blitzing situations.
The margin for error this week is slim, this is because the Jaguars are clearly better than the Texans. It will difficult for the Texans to execute offensively due to how skilled Jacksonville is defensively. Keeping pressure away from Yates will difficult but not necessarily impossible. Accomplishing this gives Houston the chance to compete and potentially even win on Sunday. Though the chance to win is rather slim.